Saratoga Springs
City of Saratoga Springs
A view of downtown, looking south along Broadway from where it intersects with Caroline Street
A view of downtown, looking south along Broadway from where it intersects with Caroline Street
Flag of Saratoga Springs
Official seal of Saratoga Springs
Nickname(s): 
The Spa City, 'Toga, The Springs.
Motto(s): 
Health, History, Horses
Location of Saratoga Springs within Saratoga County, New York
Location of Saratoga Springs within Saratoga County, New York
Saratoga Springs is located in New York
Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs
Location in the State of New York
Saratoga Springs is located in the United States
Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 43°04′59″N 73°47′04″W / 43.08306°N 73.78444°W / 43.08306; -73.78444
Country United States
State New York
CountySaratoga
Foundedc. 1776
Government
 • TypeMayor-Commission
 • MayorJohn Safford (R)
Area
 • Total28.87 sq mi (74.78 km2)
 • Land28.07 sq mi (72.69 km2)
 • Water0.81 sq mi (2.09 km2)
Elevation305 ft (93 m)
Lowest elevation
0 ft (0 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total28,491
 • Density1,015.18/sq mi (391.97/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
12866
Area code518 838
FIPS code36-091-65255
FIPS code36-65255
GNIS feature ID964489[3]
Wikimedia CommonsSaratoga Springs, New York
Websitesaratoga-springs.org

Saratoga Springs is a city in Saratoga County, New York, United States. The population was 28,491 at the 2020 census.[4] The name reflects the presence of mineral springs in the area, which has made Saratoga a popular resort destination for over 200 years. It is home to the Saratoga Race Course, a thoroughbred horse racing track, and Saratoga Performing Arts Center,[5] a music and dance venue. The city's official slogan is "Health, History, and Horses".[6]

History

See also: Timeline of Saratoga Springs, New York

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Saratoga Springs, New York" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (June 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

The Mohawk Indigenous people used the area that is now Saratoga Springs as prime hunting ground, and some thought of the mineral springs as a gift from Manitou.[7]

The British built Fort Saratoga in 1691 on the west bank of the Hudson River.[8] During the early part of the 1700s, settlers from Europe began to develop the area.[7] Shortly thereafter, British colonists settled the current village of Schuylerville approximately one mile south; it was known as Saratoga until 1831.[9]

In 1767, William Johnson, a colonial British officer who was a hero of the French and Indian War, was brought by Native American friends to the spring to treat his war wounds. (In 1756, Johnson had been appointed British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Northeast region due to his success in building alliances with the Mohawk and other Iroquois tribes. He had learned the language and created many trading relationships. He achieved great wealth from trading and landholdings, and was knighted for his service to the Crown with the Iroquois.)[10]

Perspective map of Saratoga Springs with image of racetrack inset and list of landmarks from 1888 by L.R. Burleigh

The first permanent European-American settler built a dwelling in the area circa 1776.[11] The springs attracted tourists, and Gideon Putnam built the first hotel for travelers. Putnam also laid out the roads and donated land for use as public spaces.[12]

The Battle of Saratoga, the turning point of the Revolutionary War, did not take place in Saratoga Springs. Rather, the battlefield is 15 miles (24 km) to the southeast, in the Town of Stillwater. A museum dedicated to the two battles sits on the former battlefields. The British encampment before the surrender at Saratoga took place 10 miles (16 km) east of the city, in Schuylerville, where several historical markers delineate points of interest. The surrender of the sword of battle took place where Fort Saratoga had been, south of Schuylerville.[citation needed]

Saratoga Springs was established as a settlement in 1819 from a western portion of the Town of Saratoga. Its principal community was incorporated as a village in 1826, and the entire region became a city in 1915. Tourism was greatly aided by the 1832 arrival of the Saratoga and Schenectady Railroad, which brought thousands of travelers to the famous mineral springs. Resort hotels developed to accommodate them. Patronage of the railroad increased after the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company assumed control in 1870 and began running the Empire State Express directly between New York City and the resort.[13]

In the 19th century, doctor Simon Baruch encouraged the development of European-style spas[14] in the United States as centers for health. Due to the presence of mineral waters Saratoga Springs was developed as a spa, generating the development of several hotels, including the United States Hotel[15] and the Grand Union Hotel. The latter was, in its day, the largest hotel in the world.[13]

In 1863, Saratoga Race Course opened, moving to its current location the following year. Horse racing and its associated betting increased tourism at a time when horse racing was a popular national spectator sport. In addition, the Saratoga Springs area was known for its gambling, which after the first years of the 20th century was illegal, but still widespread. Most gambling facilities were located on Saratoga Lake, on the southeast side of the city.[citation needed]

By 1870, it was considered a top upscale resort relying on natural mineral springs, horse racing, gambling, and luxury hotels.[citation needed] World War II imposed travel restrictions which impacted the tourist industry. During the 1950s, the state and city closed the gambling houses in a crackdown on illegal gambling.[16] The closing and demolition in the 1950s of some hotels, including the Grand Union and the United States hurt tourism.[citation needed]

The city became more accessible with the completion of the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87), which allowed visitors easier access from the north and south. In addition, cultural resources such as classical and popular music and dance, flourished.[17]

Mineral springs

Columbian Spring, one of Saratoga Springs' public springs

The mineral springs occur along the east side of the Saratoga Fault which allows water trapped in subsurface shale layers to reach the surface. The fault displacement can be seen on the east side of Broadway with the best view of the fault at the High Rock Park cliff. [18]

The Mohawk Indigenous peoples who inhabited this area used the springs for several hundred years before the arrival of European settlers. Later drilling technology was employed by settlers to tap into the spring sources, and by 1900, 203 springs were flowing, some of which were tapped for carbon dioxide extraction, as well as mineral water. This proved to be unsustainable, and by 1908, New York State passed restrictions on use to allow the aquifer to recharge. As of 2019, there are only 17 productive springs.[18]

Toward the end of the 19th century, excessive pumping for commercial bottling was threatening to deplete the springs. In 1911, the New York State Reservation, now the Spa State Park, was created to protect the springs, and the Lincoln and Roosevelt bath houses were built. Currently, visitors can soak in the mineral waters at the historic Roosevelt Bath house, which also provides spa treatments.[19]

The water from the springs is high in mineral contents, inclucing iron, magnesium, calcium, lithium, iodine, chromium, sodium, zinc,[18] barium, and with 9 of the springs reporting radium content.[20]

Believed to have healing powers,[by whom?] springs can be found in multiple places around the town. Others, including scientists, dispute any medicinal properties from consuming the water due to the high levels of sodium and radium in some of the spring sources.[7]

Most of the springs are covered by small pavilions and marked by plaques. Others are less conspicuous, sometimes just a spigot in a rock. The springs are famous for their varied and distinct tastes: some are clear freshwater, others are saltier, and some taste strongly of a certain mineral such as sodium bicarbonate or sodium chloride. There is a sulfurous odor, but mineral analysis of the water consistently shows almost no presence of dissolved sulfur.[dubious ] The sulfur is in the form of the gas hydrogen sulfide, which degasses from the water very quickly. Visitors are welcome to bottle the spring water for personal consumption.[21]

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.1 square miles (75 km2), of which 28.4 square miles (74 km2) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) (2.17%) is water.

The Adirondack Northway of New York (Interstate 87) and US Route 9 pass alongside and through the city, respectively. New York State Route 29, New York State Route 50, New York State Route 9N, and New York State Route 9P lead into Saratoga Springs. NY 9N has its southern terminus and NY 9P has its northern terminus in the city. US 9 and NY 50 overlap in the city, joined briefly by NY 29.

Saratoga Lake is slightly south of the city.

Climate

Climate data for Saratoga Springs, New York (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1955–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 67
(19)
68
(20)
88
(31)
92
(33)
96
(36)
99
(37)
99
(37)
96
(36)
94
(34)
88
(31)
82
(28)
69
(21)
99
(37)
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 32.0
(0.0)
35.4
(1.9)
45.3
(7.4)
60.3
(15.7)
72.5
(22.5)
79.9
(26.6)
83.8
(28.8)
82.1
(27.8)
74.9
(23.8)
62.1
(16.7)
48.7
(9.3)
37.0
(2.8)
59.5
(15.3)
Daily mean °F (°C) 23.1
(−4.9)
25.7
(−3.5)
35.1
(1.7)
48.1
(8.9)
59.8
(15.4)
68.0
(20.0)
72.4
(22.4)
70.7
(21.5)
63.3
(17.4)
51.3
(10.7)
39.8
(4.3)
29.3
(−1.5)
48.9
(9.4)
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 14.3
(−9.8)
16.0
(−8.9)
24.8
(−4.0)
35.9
(2.2)
47.0
(8.3)
56.2
(13.4)
60.9
(16.1)
59.4
(15.2)
51.8
(11.0)
40.5
(4.7)
30.8
(−0.7)
21.6
(−5.8)
36.3
(2.4)
Record low °F (°C) −33
(−36)
−29
(−34)
−13
(−25)
5
(−15)
21
(−6)
32
(0)
37
(3)
31
(−1)
22
(−6)
2
(−17)
−1
(−18)
−23
(−31)
−33
(−36)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.41
(87)
2.65
(67)
3.42
(87)
3.78
(96)
3.86
(98)
4.80
(122)
4.98
(126)
4.11
(104)
3.82
(97)
4.14
(105)
3.49
(89)
3.92
(100)
46.38
(1,178)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 16.5
(42)
15.7
(40)
11.4
(29)
1.8
(4.6)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.1
(0.25)
2.9
(7.4)
15.1
(38)
63.5
(161)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 12.3 9.5 10.5 11.7 12.7 12.4 12.5 11.0 10.0 11.5 11.4 12.3 137.8
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 8.2 6.9 4.7 1.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.8 5.7 28.6
Source: NOAA[22][23]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
18707,516
18808,42312.1%
189011,97542.2%
190012,4093.6%
191012,6932.3%
192013,1813.8%
193013,169−0.1%
194013,7054.1%
195015,47312.9%
196016,6307.5%
197018,84513.3%
198023,90626.9%
199025,0014.6%
200026,1864.7%
201026,5861.5%
202028,4917.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[24]

2012

According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:

As of the census[25] of 2012, there were 26,711 people, 11,312 households, and 5,923 families residing in the city. The population density was 921.1 inhabitants per square mile (355.6/km2). There were 11,584 housing units at an average density of 407.5 per square mile (157.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.5% White, 1.7% African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.01% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.64% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.0% of the population.

There were 11,312 households, out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.5% were non-families. 35.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 19.4% under the age of 18, 15.5% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.1 males.

In 2012, the median income for a household was $91,392, while the median income for a family was $114,560.[26][27] Males had a median income of $61,582 versus $47,759 for females. About 3.0% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.[26]

Economy

Downtown Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs regards tourism as an industry during the warmer climate weather which becomes heightened around the season that the Saratoga Race Course becomes open to the general population.[citation needed]

The Saratoga Spring Water Co. (a division of Anheuser-Busch) is located on Geyser Road. Operating since 1872, this sparkling water has also been served at multiple presidential inaugurations in Washington, D.C., most recently for Barack Obama's second inauguration in 2013.[28] It was also served to participants at the 2023 APEC Summit in San Francisco. [29]

Arts and culture

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is a covered outdoor amphitheater located on the grounds of the Saratoga Spa State Park, with a capacity of 5,000 in reserved seating and 20,000+ on its general admission lawn area. SPAC is the summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet, and has hosted a weekend-long jazz festival since 1978.[30] Since 2006, the Saratoga Native American Festival has been held on SPAC grounds each fall.[31]

Museums in the area include the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, the Tang Teaching Museum and the Saratoga Automobile Museum.[citation needed]The singer Don McLean was a frequent performer there early in his career.[32]

Saratoga Springs is home to Yaddo, a 400-acre (1.62 km2; 0.63 sq mi) artists' community, founded by Wall Street financier Spencer Trask and his wife, author Katrina Trask. Since its inception in 1900, Yaddo has hosted 68 authors who later won the Pulitzer Prize and one Nobel Prize winner, Saul Bellow. Leonard Bernstein, Truman Capote, Aaron Copland, Sylvia Plath, and David Sedaris have all been artists-in-residence.[33]

Contra dance at the Flurry Festival

Over Presidents' Day weekend in February, Saratoga Springs draws more than 5000 attendees for the annual Flurry Festival, which features folk dance and music, including one of the largest contra dances in the United States.[34]

Saratoga's New Year's celebration First Night Saratoga is the largest New Year's Eve event in New York outside of New York City.[35]

Museums

National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Live performance

National Register of Historic Places listings

Saratoga Springs has sixteen places listed in the National Register of Historic Places:

Outdoor sculpture

Horses Saratoga Style were two public art events held in 2002 and 2007 where local artists decorated fiberglass horse sculptures that were displayed throughout the city from June through October of the respective years the event was held; some remain on display in front of the businesses that sponsored them. Horses Saratoga Style was organized by the Saratoga County Arts Council and the YMCA of Saratoga.[citation needed]

Parks and recreation

Thoroughbred racing

1922 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap

Saratoga Race Course opened on August 3, 1863. The first track was located on East Avenue (at the present Oklahoma Training Track location) which is perpendicular to the present Saratoga Race Course, which opened the following year, founded by John Hunter and William R. Travers.[citation needed]

Entrance to the Saratoga Race Course

Harness racing

Saratoga Casino and Raceway, a harness (Standardbred) racetrack that includes a hotel, video gaming facility, nightclub, restaurants, racing casino, and a horse betting simulcast room.[36]

Golf

There are three public golf courses in Saratoga Springs: Saratoga National Golf, Saratoga Spa Golf -Located in Saratoga Spa State Park, and Airway Meadows Golf Club, and one private golf course, the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club.[37]

Saratoga Spa State Park

Main article: Saratoga Spa State Park

The Saratoga Spa State Park features the culture and mineral springs of Saratoga Springs. The park and includes hiking trails, picnic areas, pools, former and current historic bathhouses and mineral springs. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), Hall of Springs, National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the Lincoln Mineral Bathhouse building, Roosevelt Mineral Baths and Spa, and the Gideon Putnam Resort are also located in the park.[38]

Skateboard Park

The Saratoga Skatepark was built in 1989, and is located in the East Side Recreation area. It was New York State's first municipal skatepark.[39] It includes a concrete skateboard "bowl" and cement ramps. In 2010 the city filled the pool with dirt, citing problems with graffiti, vandalism and "structural gaps" affecting the skating surface. In addition, the city said that it lacked funds to staff guards at the park and claimed it had spent nearly $200,000 on the park since it opened in 1989.[40] A group of skateboarders lobbied for the park, and as of 2023, the redesigned skate park was open.[41][39]

Government

The Saratoga Springs charter specifies a "commission" form of city government. Recent efforts to amend the charter have not been successful. The most recent charter change proposal appeared on the ballot in the November 2020 election and was overwhelmingly defeated. Prior attempts have netted mixed results with the closest margin of votes in 2017 where a difference of 10 votes upheld the current system of government.[42]

Education

Sign at the entrance of Skidmore College on Broadway in the city of Saratoga Springs, New York

Empire State College and Skidmore College are both located in Saratoga Springs; Verrazzano College (1969–1975)[43][44] was also located there. During the summer, Skidmore is one of several hosts for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Eastern Nazarene College, located in Quincy, Massachusetts, was founded in Saratoga Springs as the Pentecostal Collegiate Institute and Biblical Seminary at the turn of the 20th century.

The Saratoga Springs City School District[45] is made up of:

Private schools in Saratoga Springs include Saratoga Central Catholic High School, St. Clement's Regional Catholic School, The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs, and Saratoga Independent School. Alternatively, some local children commute to Albany area schools such as The Emma Willard School, The Albany Academies, Doane Stuart School and La Salle Institute.

Media

Infrastructure

Transportation

See also: Saratoga Springs (Amtrak station)

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Saratoga Springs, New York" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (June 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

A general aviation facility, Saratoga County Airport, is located west of the city in Milton.

Amtrak provides daily rail service to Saratoga Springs, operating the Adirondack between Montreal and New York City, and the Ethan Allen Express between Rutland, Vermont, and New York City.

Bus service includes Greyhound Bus Lines, Adirondack Trailways, Capital District Transportation Authority, and Megabus.

Interstate 87 passes through the city.

In popular culture

Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Race Course, and Saratoga society are frequently featured on-screen and mentioned in films and television.

Films featuring Saratoga Springs

Radio

Television

Music

Food

Other

Sister cities

See also

References

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Further reading